Effect of fluid strategy on stroke volume, cardiac output, and fluid responsiveness in adult patients undergoing major abdominal surgery: a sub-study of the Restrictive versus Liberal Fluid Therapy in Major Abdominal Surgery (RELIEF) trial

Tuong D. Phan, Yoshiaki Uda, Philip J. Peyton, Roman Kluger, Paul S. Myles

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Background: We designed a prospective sub-study of the larger Restrictive versus Liberal Fluid Therapy in Major Abdominal Surgery (RELIEF) trial to measure differences in stroke volume and other haemodynamic parameters at the end of the intraoperative fluid protocols. The haemodynamic effects of the two fluid regimens may increase our understanding of the observed perioperative outcomes. Methods: Stroke volume and cardiac output were measured with both an oesophageal Doppler ultrasound monitor and arterial pressure waveform analysis. Stroke volume variation, pulse pressure variation, and plethysmographic variability index were also obtained. A passive leg raise manoeuvre was performed to identify fluid responsiveness. Results: Analysis of 105 patients showed that the primary outcome, Doppler monitor-derived stroke volume index, was higher in the liberal group: restrictive 38.5 (28.6–48.8) vs liberal 44.0 (34.9–61.9) ml m−2; P=0.043. Similarly, there was a higher cardiac index in the liberal group: 2.96 (2.32–4.05) vs 2.42 (1.94–3.26) L min−1 m−2; P=0.015. Arterial-pressure-based stroke volume and cardiac index did not differ, nor was there a significant difference in stroke volume variation, pulse pressure variation, or plethysmographic variability index. The passive leg raise manoeuvre showed fluid responsiveness in 40% of restrictive and 30% of liberal protocol patients (not significant). Conclusions: The liberal fluid group from the RELIEF trial had significantly higher Doppler ultrasound monitor-derived stroke volume and cardiac output compared with the restrictive fluid group at the end of the intraoperative period. Measures of fluid responsiveness did not differ significantly between groups. Clinical trial registration: ACTRN12615000125527.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-825
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • cardiac output
  • fluid responsiveness
  • fluid therapy
  • goal-directed fluid therapy
  • oesophageal Doppler ultrasound
  • passive leg raise

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